Biman won’t fly to Kolkata, Chennai

Biman Bangladesh Airlines yesterday decided to suspend flights to Kolkata and Chennai due to a lack of passengers, among other reasons, amid the pandemic.

Tahera Khondoker, deputy general manager, public relations, Biman, told The Daily Star about the development yesterday afternoon.

She said the national flag carrier would not operate any flights to Kolkata from November 12 until further notice due to lack of passengers.

After around seven months of suspension of regular flights due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Biman resumed operations on the Dhaka-Kolkata-Dhaka route from October 29.

Biman was scheduled to operate three weekly flights on the route.

Due to lack of passengers, Biman was forced to cancel the scheduled flight yesterday, sources at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport told The Daily Star.

The thrice a week Dhaka-Chennai-Dhaka flights from November 15 was also suspended until further notice.

An official of the national airliner said a lack of passengers, fewer visas issued to intended passengers by the Indian High Commission, various rules and regulations set by the Indian authorities for air travellers, are among the reasons for suspension of Biman flights to Kolkata and Chennai.

The airlines, however, will continue its flights to Delhi.

Tahera Khondoker said initially three flights a week were operated to Delhi but it has now been reduced to two a week.

After a seven-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, Biman announced three flights a week to Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai under an air bubble deal with India.

Officials of Novoair, a private carrier, told The Daily Star that they have also postponed their plan to resume flights on the Dhaka-Kolkata route due to lack of passengers.

US-Bangla Airlines, the leading private carrier, however, continued operating its flights on the Dhaka-Kolkata and Dhaka-Chennai routes, said Kamrul Islam, spokesperson of the airline.

The carrier is operating 13 flights every week to India — six flights to Kolkata and seven to Chennai.

A top official of the airlines said they are continuing services as they do not want to open their market to Indian airlines.

According to the air bubble agreement between Bangladesh and India, three Bangladeshi airlines were scheduled to operate 28 flights a week to different destinations in India while five Indian Airlines were scheduled to operate the same number of flights to Bangladesh. 


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